Prospects, commitments and a milestone on Long Island – add it all up and you get yet another exiting week for players and alumni of the “Q”.
Hockey’s Future Descends on Hamilton
The best NHL Draft eligible players in the country put on a show in Hamilton, Ont. during the 2020 Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. Rimouski’s Alexis Lafrenière was one of nine QMJHL players selected to participate in the event and he captained his Team White squad to a 5-3 victory over Team Red. Sherbrooke’s Samuel Hlavaj earned the victory in nets, while Saint John’s Jeremie Poirier opened the scoring for Team Red before adding an assist on Chicoutimi’s Dawson Mercer’s goal.
“Q” Reps Rank High
All nine QMJHL players who suited up in Hamilton are among the highest ranked players in the 2020 NHL Central Scouting Midterm Players to Watch List. All told, 35 players from the league have made this prestigious list, including a remarkable eight projected first round selections.
Lafrenière maintains top spot on this list while Mercer, his Team Canada teammate from the World Juniors, finds himself ranked sixth. Hlavaj, who assumes the third slot among goaltenders, is the first of five “Q” netminders who have earned a position in the rankings.
Jamming on the East Coast
The second high profile midget hockey tournament of the season, the 2020 East Coast Ice Jam, took place in Halifax last week. From 20 squads located throughout Eastern Canada, it was two local clubs that earned the right to play for the tournament title as the Halifax Macs took on their cross-bridge rivals, Dartmouth Steele Subaru. Dartmouth would emerge victorious by a score of 3-1. All told, six QMJHL draftees participated in the final game of the event.
“X” Marks the Spot
Defenseman Patrick Kyte exchanged his Halifax Mooseheads’ sweater for the blue and white of the Chicoutimi Sagueneens thanks to a transaction during the recent trade period. The overage rearguard will be donning blue and white again next season after committing to St. Francis Xavier University last week. The QMJHL veteran becomes the third member of his immediate family to make his way to “St. FX”. His father is the current Vice-President of Advancement at the school while his grandfather, a multi-sport athlete in the 1940’s, is a member of the StFX Sports Hall of Fame.
Dobson Nets His First
It may not have been the most conventional was to score one’s first NHL goal, but it found its way to the back of the net nonetheless. That’s all that matters to former Titan and Huskies defenseman Noah Dobson. The two-time Memorial Cup champion and 2019 QMJHL Playoff MVP achieved this latest milestone against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night when his wrister from the half wall deflected off the glove of Wings defender Alex Biega and past goaltender Calvin Pickard.
A Big Week Between the Pipes
Following the recent trade deadline in the QMJHL, it was made apparent that Remi Poirier would be the main man tending the twine for Gatineau. The second-year netminder has already rewarded his team’s decision-making by posting back-to-back shutouts in starts against the Tigres and Armada last weekend.
His were two of the five shutouts earned by league backstops last week. Ironically, one of those whitewashes was posted by his former Gatineau goaltending partner, Creed Jones, who made 14 saves in a 3-0 Rimouski win over Rouyn-Noranda.
Elsewhere, Saint John’s Zachary Bouthillier kicked aside 32 shots in a 3-0 Sea Dogs win over Baie-Comeau while Zachary Emond stopped 33 shots in the Huskies 2-0 triumph over the Océanic.
If you wanted hat tricks, you had to follow the Cape Breton Eagles around last week to see one. In a home-and-home with the Sea Dogs, Egor Sokolov first turned the trick in Saint John last Wednesday, before Shawn Boudrias netted a trio at home on Friday.